Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise

Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

St. Pope Pius X said that Mary’s title Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is perhaps the most meaningful of all. In this second part of my talk last week, you will see why.

             “Mary can guide us toward this most holy sacrament because she herself has a profound relationship with it,” St. Pope John Paul II claimed. He further connected this sacrament to Mary by making the Eucharist the fifth mystery of her Rosary in his new set of Luminous Mysteries.

            When Gabriel proposed that Mary be God’s Mother and she said, “Let it be,” instantly Jesus took up residence in her womb. She became a walking tabernacle. One of her titles is Ark of the Covenant. In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was the chest where the Israelites believed God was present. They carried it with them. Inside the Ark was the Word, the Ten Commandment tablets. Within Mary was the eternal Word of God, Jesus. The Ark also contained some manna from the Exodus. Within Mary was the Bread of the world. So we call Mary spiritual vessel, house of God, and seat of wisdom because eternal wisdom made her lap his throne.

            Because no man was involved in this miraculous conception, there must have been an extraordinary resemblance between mother and son: looks, mannerisms. The flesh and blood of the Son of God was taken from Mary. After his birth, he walked the earth with flesh and blood drawn from her. This also means that at every Eucharist, Mary is present in a sense in the sacred bread and wine. She provided the matter of this sacrament.

            Mary was Jesus’s first adorer when she placed him in the manger, a feeding trough, in Bethlehem, a town which means “house of bread.” Mary brought Jesus to people. While pregnant, she brought him to her relative Elizabeth. (Pope Benedict called that “the first Eucharistic procession.”) After Jesus was born, she showed him to the shepherds and kings. Mary brought Jesus to Simeon and Anna in the Temple and offered him to God. (We offer ourselves with Jesus at Mass.) And at the wedding of Cana, Mary brought the waiters to him when the wine ran out. There Jesus changed water into wine at her request.

            Today Mary wants to intercede for us too. Saints and popes have taught that all graces come through Mary. Dante’s “Hymn to the Virgin” (Paradiso – Canto XXXIII) celebrates this:

Virgin Mother, daughter of your Son, / humbler and higher than any creature, / fixed term of the Eternal Counsel.

You are she who did so ennoble / our human nature that its Creator / did not disdain to be His creature’s creation.

Within your womb was rekindled the Love / by whose warmth this celestial flower / has blossomed in the eternal peace.

You are for us here the noonday light / of charity, and among mortals below / you are the living fountain of hope.

Lady so powerful and so great, / whoever seeks grace without turning to you / wishes to fly without having wings.

Your compassionate aid is not only given / to those who ask, but oftentimes also / is freely given before being sought.

In you is mercy, in you tender pity, / in you great generosity.  In you is joined / all the goodness found in any creature.

            Mary’s last recorded words in Scripture are her directions to the waiters at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you.” (Mary’s commandment) Well, at the Last Supper Jesus tells us, “Do this in memory of me.” Whenever we offer the Eucharist, we obey both Jesus and our heavenly Mother. Eve urged Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit which brought death upon us, Mary prompts us to eat the Bread which gives us life.

            Mary was probably at the Last Supper. We know that on Calvary, Mary stood at the foot of the cross, united with Jesus in his sacrifice to set us free. She joined her pain to his. She witnessed the piercing of his side when blood and water poured out, the blood that symbolized the Eucharist.

            At Mass, when the sacrifice of Jesus is re-presented in an unbloody way, Mary is there too. She stands by us. She has provided our daily bread. Because Mary is essential to the Eucharist, every Mass mentions her.

            After Jesus ascended, Mary prayed in the Upper Room with the apostles, the Church. So she was with them on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended. For the second time the Spirit came upon Mary. She was with the Christian community at the first Eucharists. Imagine her joy when she received her son in St. John’s home —the same Jesus she received at the Incarnation. How consoling for her! She believed in the reality of Christ’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament. She had faith.

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

            St. Peter Julian Eymard said, “Let us never forget that an age prospers or dwindles in proportion to its devotion to the Holy Eucharist. This is the measure of its spiritual life and its faith, of its charity and its virtue.” He joined the Society of Mary, the Marist Fathers. In 1851, Mary led him to know that all the mysteries of Jesus had a religious order of men to honor them but the Eucharist. So he founded the Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament. This community is present in Ohio at St. Pascal Baylon Church on Wilson Mills.

            Speaking to his novices, St. Peter Julian called Mary Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. He encouraged them to pray, “Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” St. Peter Julian described what her statue should look like: Mary holds the infant Jesus who holds a chalice in one hand and a host in the other.

            The feast of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament is May 13, the day St. Peter Julian founded his community. This is the day of the first apparition of Fatima. Then too it is the day of the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.  He credits Mary for saving his life. The doctors were amazed that the bullet’s path zigzagged, avoiding major organs. The pope had that bullet inserted in the crown of Mary’s statue in Fatima. The Angel of Peace appeared to the Fatima children three times before Mary appeared. The last time he came, a host and chalice were suspended in the sky, and he gave the children Communion.

            Whenever Mary appeared on earth, she asked for a church built where the Eucharist could be offered: Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe. When she appeared as Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico she wore a black belt, the Aztec sign of pregnancy. She sent St. Juan Diego to ask the bishop to have a church built.

            St. Teresa of Calcutta wrote; “When we recite the Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, we love Jesus with the Heart of Mary. … we offer Jesus the perfect Adoration of Mary. We join our own love for Jesus to Mary’s worship and perfect love.  Jesus welcomes our time of adoration as if it were Mary’s own prayer. No matter how weak our faith or how poor our love, Mary receives us into her Heart, and Jesus acknowledges our time of prayer as if it came directly from the Heart of his Mother. The Immaculate Heart of Mary makes up for what is lacking in our hearts.”

Marian Tabernacles

Marian tabernacle in Poland
Marian tabernacle in Ivory Coast

            After a miraculous healing, Polish artisan Drapikowski is creating 12 altars for perpetual adoration for peace. They represent the crown of 12 stars around Mary’s head in the book of Revelation. The tabernacles feature Mary embracing the host in her arms as she would Baby Jesus. They are planned to be in troubled spots of the world. The first one appeared in Jerusalem but moved to Bethlehem.

            Likewise at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Chicago, where there is perpetual adoration, the tabernacle is within a statue of Mary. She is called “Our Lady of the Sign—Ark of Mercy.”

Our Lady of the Sign, Chicago


Virgin Immaculate, perfect lover of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we ask you to obtain for us the graces we need to become true adorers of our Eucharistic God.  Grant us, we beg of you, to know Him better, to love Him more, and to center our lives around the Eucharist, that is, to make our whole life a constant prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and petition to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  Amen.


An entertaining legend about St. Hyacinth, a Polish Dominican, combines Mary and the Eucharist. When the Tartars invaded, he went forth to meet them, carrying the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance. As he passed a statue of Mary, she called out, “Take me with you.” Hyacinth replied, “The statue is too heavy.” Mary said, “My Son will make it light.” And so Hyacinth was able to carry it: the monstrance in one arm, the statue in the other. Leading his novices, he walked through the Tartars unharmed. Interestingly, in Poland a mild oath is “Hyacinth pierogis!” Hyacinth is the patron saint of pierogis and of weightlifters.

            A similar thing happened to St. Clare. When Saracens were invading Assisi and her convent, she also bravely confronted them with the Blessed Sacrament although she was sick. The invaders turned around and went home.

St. Don Bosco had a vision of a naval battle prophesying conflicts the Church would have with evil forces. In the vision he saw the Church under the image of a ship, tossed about by storms and attacked by enemy ships. Two pillars arose from the sea. Atop one of these columns was the statue of Mary, and inscribed below it were the words, “Help of Christians.” Atop the other column was a large host with the inscription below it, “Salvation of Believers.”  The Church, called the bark of Peter, anchored itself between the two pillars and was safe from the attacking ships.

• What ideas were new to you?

• How does your parish honor the Blessed Sacrament?

Here is the song “The Baker Woman,” which celebrates Mary as the one who gives us Jesus, bread for the world.

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